Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simple Roast Chicken

There is nothing quite like the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven.  I love to buy whole chickens, roast them in the oven, and then use the carcass to make chicken stock.  It's a great way to stretch a dollar!  Whole chickens are usually quite inexpensive, and I find with my little family I can get several meals out of one chicken, plus a couple quarts of stock.  I love doing this in the wintertime especially, when I don't mind heating up the house for long periods of time.  This recipe produces a juicy chicken with a beautiful crisp skin for me every time.  The lemon, onion, garlic, and rosemary give it a great flavor and help it stay moist.  My husband's grandma even puts an apple inside sometimes and that works great too!

If you're not used to working with whole chickens, don't be intimidated!  It's really so simple.  I remember I always used to make my husband prep the chicken, because it made me nervous, but I do it every time now.  It seriously only takes me about 5 minutes and then it's in the oven for about an hour and a half and that's it!  I usually just roast one chicken in a simple 9x13 pan - no rack or anything, but if you have a bigger family/group, you can easily do two at a time in a larger roasting pan.  I'm sure I'll be doing the same thing in a few more years!

I'll put up a recipe soon for chicken stock and a delicious chicken pot-pie you can make with your leftover chicken!

Simple Roast Chicken

1 (~5 lb.) whole chicken
1 lemon, halved
1/2 large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
2-3 sprigs rosemary
2 T. butter, softened
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove giblets and discard or save for making giblet stock*.  Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Stuff cavity with lemon, onion, garlic, and rosemary (put as much as you can fit in).  Place chicken breast side up in a 9x13 baking dish (or roasting pan).  Rub outside of chicken with butter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Tuck wings under, and either tie up the legs with kitchen twine or slice a thin slit in one leg and tuck the other leg into it.
Roast in 425 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hrs, until breast registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and juices run clear.  Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest 10-15 minutes.  The chicken will continue cooking for awhile and the internal temperature should get up to about 170-175.  Carve and serve, or let cool and then cut up for later use.  Save carcass if you want to make stock.  Also, if you plan on making gravy, you should have some great drippings on the bottom of your pan.
*Basic giblet stock - put giblets in a small saucepan with water to cover, simmer for about 30 minutes or so, then add to pan drippings when making gravy.

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